Sally Williams shares her vision for the future of the Ryman Auditorium, as well as for Nashville as a whole, by digging into its past. As general manager of the historic venue since 2008, she tells the story of the Ryman as if it were a living, breathing thing that has always been evolving — from its opening as the Union Gospel Tabernacle in 1892 to becoming a gathering place for community, education, political and cultural events, to its status for more than 30 years as the Mother Church of Country Music.
Williams’ role in writing the next chapter of the story is making sure people are still as excited about coming to the Ryman decades from now. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the renovation and reopening of the building and Williams’ vision involves it continuing to evolve alongside a growing Nashville.
“One of the most beautiful things about our city, from my perspective, is the strong sense of community, the teamwork, the rising tide raises all boats mentality,” she says. “Thanks to this amazing collaborative spirit, we’re booming and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.”
Williams was named the Ryman’s GM nine years after joining its parent company,